SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION'S FISCAL YEAR 2002 CAPITAL INVESTMENT PROGRAM
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, PUBLIC BUILDINGS AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SEVENTH CONGRESS
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCFIRST SESSION
JUNE 13, 2001
Printed for the use of the
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
DON YOUNG, Alaska, Chairman
THOMAS E. PETRI, Wisconsin, Vice-Chair
SHERWOOD L. BOEHLERT, New York
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee
WAYNE T. GILCHREST, Maryland
STEPHEN HORN, California
JOHN L. MICA, Florida
JACK QUINN, New York
VERNON J. EHLERS, Michigan
SPENCER BACHUS, Alabama
STEVEN C. LaTOURETTE, Ohio
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSUE W. KELLY, New York
RICHARD H. BAKER, Louisiana
ROBERT W. NEY, Ohio
JOHN COOKSEY, Louisiana
JOHN R. THUNE, South Dakota
FRANK A. LoBIONDO, New Jersey
JERRY MORAN, Kansas
RICHARD W. POMBO, California
JIM DeMINT, South Carolina
DOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska
MICHAEL K. SIMPSON, Idaho
JOHNNY ISAKSON, Georgia
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
ROB SIMMONS, Connecticut
MIKE ROGERS, Michigan
SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO, West Virginia
MARK STEVEN KIRK, Illinois
HENRY E. BROWN, Jr., South Carolina
TIMOTHY V. JOHNSON, Illinois
BRIAN D. KERNS, Indiana
DENNIS R. REHBERG, Montana
TODD RUSSELL PLATTS, Pennsylvania
MIKE FERGUSON, New Jersey
SAM GRAVES, Missouri
C.L. (BUTCH) OTTER, Idaho
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCMARK R. KENNEDY, Minnesota
JOHN ABNEY CULBERSON, Texas
BILL SHUSTER, Pennsylvania
JOHN BOOZMAN, Arkansas
JAMES L. OBERSTAR, Minnesota
NICK J. RAHALL II, West Virginia
ROBERT A. BORSKI, Pennsylvania
WILLIAM O. LIPINSKI, Illinois
PETER A. DeFAZIO, Oregon
BOB CLEMENT, Tennessee
JERRY F. COSTELLO, Illinois
ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, District of Columbia
JERROLD NADLER, New York
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
CORRINE BROWN, Florida
JAMES A. BARCIA, Michigan
BOB FILNER, California
EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON, Texas
FRANK MASCARA, Pennsylvania
GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
JUANITA MILLENDER-MCDONALD, California
ELIJAH E. CUMMINGS, Maryland
EARL BLUMENAUER, Oregon
MAX SANDLIN, Texas
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCELLEN O. TAUSCHER, California
BILL PASCRELL, Jr., New Jersey
LEONARD L. BOSWELL, Iowa
JAMES P. McGOVERN, Massachusetts
TIM HOLDEN, Pennsylvania
NICK LAMPSON, Texas
JOHN ELIAS BALDACCI, Maine
MARION BERRY, Arkansas
BRIAN BAIRD, Washington
SHELLEY BERKLEY, Nevada
BRAD CARSON, Oklahoma
JIM MATHESON, Utah
MICHAEL M. HONDA, California
RICK LARSEN, Washington
Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management
STEVEN C. LaTOURETTE, Ohio, Chairman
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCROBERT W. NEY, Ohio
JOHN COOKSEY, Louisiana
MIKE ROGERS, Michigan
SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO, West Virginia, Vice-Chair
DON YOUNG, Alaska
JERRY F. COSTELLO, Illinois
MARION BERRY, Arkansas
ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, District of Columbia
JAMES A. BARCIA, Michigan
JAMES L. OBERSTAR, Minnesota
Moravec, Joseph, Commissioner, Public Buildings Service, U.S. General Services Administration
Roth, Judge Jane R., Judicial Conference of the United States, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
PREPARED STATEMENTS SUBMITTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
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Costello, Hon. Jerry F., of Illinois
Oberstar, Hon. James L., of Minnesota
PREPARED STATEMENTS SUBMITTED BY WITNESSES
Roth, Judge Jane R
SUBMISSIONS FOR THE RECORD
Moravec, Joseph, Commissioner, Public Buildings Service, U.S. General Services Administration, responses to questions
Roth, Judge Jane R., Judicial Conference of the United States, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, chart, Judicial Branch Courthouse Construction Program for FY 2002
ADDITIONS TO THE RECORD
Berne, Dr. Bernard H., statement and attachments
Dearie, Hon. Raymond J. Dearie, District Judge, Eastern District of New York, statement
THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION'S FISCAL YEAR 2002 CAPITAL INVESTMENT PROGRAM
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Wednesday, June 13, 2001
House of Representatives, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management, Washington, D.C.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 2:00 p.m. in room 2253, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Steven LaTourette [chairman of the subcommittee] presiding.
Mr. LATOURETTE. The Subcommittee will come to order.
I want to welcome the members of the Subcommittee to this very important hearing this afternoon on the General Services Administration's Fiscal Year 2002 Capital Investment Program. As many are aware, the capital investment program is the annual program that GSA submits to the Committee for its consideration. The program consists of prospectusesthat's prospectii, maybe?
Mr. LATOURETTE.prospectuses for modernization projects and new construction projects costing more than $2 million, the prospectus threshold set forth by the Public Buildings Act of 1959.
Before we get to the business of reviewing the capital program, I want to extend a very warm welcome to our witnesses here this afternoon. Judge Jane Roth is here to testify, and we'll also have the pleasure of meeting the new Administrator of GSA, Steven Perry. Mr. Perry is from our home State of Ohio, and he's with us briefly. I understand he's going to introduce the new Commissioner of the Public Buildings Service, Joe Moravec.
Mr. Perry has had a remarkable career with the Timken Company in Canton, Ohio. He started as a stockroom clerk and retired as a senior vice president, overseeing 20,500 workers and with annual sales of over $2.6 billion. He also had a short stint working for the then-Governor and now Senator from our State, Senator Voinovich, in the governor's cabinet as Director of the Department of Administrative Services, which is the Ohio State equivalent of the GSA.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I am confident your distinguished career has prepared you well for the challenges you'll be forced to deal with at the agency. As a personal note, I see you also attended the University of Michigan, and I'm pleased to see that on your resume as well.
I certainly look forward to working with you and the new Commissioner of Public Buildings on many of these important issues the Subcommittee will deliberate. I further applaud your testimony at your confirmation hearing before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, where you noted that you plan to give special emphasis to develop and improve GSA's communication and interaction with members of Congress and committee staff. That communication is an important link to what we're trying to accomplish in Congress, and also what the Administration hopes to accomplish.
Mr. Costello and I have pledged and we plan to work closely together in a bipartisan manner on this Subcommittee. I certainly welcome your participation.
Before we get to the program, I do want to make a personal observation and bring it to everybody's attention. In the 105th Congress, as a member of this Subcommittee, I had introduced legislation that was co-sponsored by a number of my colleagues. It had to do with the naming of the new Federal courthouse under construction in Cleveland, Ohio. We honored the former mayor, former Ambassador Carl B. Stokes with that honor, and had broad bipartisan support in many reaches of the Congress.
I was very distressed to recently go to a ceremony in Cleveland where our former colleague, Congressman Lou Stokes, who served in this body for over 30 years, gave me a letter that indicated that he had been to a steel topping out ceremony at the new courthouse on May 22nd of last year, 2000, and expressed his dismay that although the most minor of architects was listed on this sign, nowhere was it mentioned that the building was to be named for Carl B. Stokes.
At the event, he had the opportunity to speak with the regional administrator, who apologized and indicated it would be taken care of directly. Congressman Stokes now has sent me a letter in June 2001 and indicates that there's still nothing on the sign that indicates that it has anything to do with Carl B. Stokes.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I hope, and I know that everybody that's new has nothing to do with that, but I don't know what the deal is, why it didn't get taken care of. But I would hope that something this obviously important to me and also to the Stokes family and the members of Congress who co-sponsored that legislation and voted for it overwhelmingly, that we could do something to fix that in the very near future.
The Administration's fiscal year 2002 capital investment program includes a major commitment to the repair and alteration program, and includes a significant new construction request for border stations, United States courthouses and other agency headquarter facilities, some of which have already been authorized and GSA is requesting the funds.
GSA has requested about $829 million for the repair and alteration and building modernization program, of which $370 million is for new authority requiring the Committee's approval. At last year's hearing, GAO identified a $4 billion backlog in the modernization program, and it's important to note that GSA is working to reduce that backlog.
GSA has requested roughly $321 million for new construction, of which $86 million will require Committee authorization, in addition to $283 million that is partially authorized and advance appropriated in fiscal year 2001 for the courthouse program. Many of the projects in this year's budget request have already been authorized and require funding, in addition to others that have been authorized and require funding and exceeds their authorization due to delays and escalations.
The Subcommittee's consideration of this program is not simply running the numbers and expediting a construction program, it is much more than that. Consideration of this program displays a strong commitment from this committee that we are serious about having cost effective, class A office space to house Federal employees and to help the Government retain a highly skilled and qualified work force, that this program is ultimately an investment in human capital and that we take seriously the investment in Federal assets in securing those Federal assets, and finally, that this Committee is committed to being tough on crime and seeing that the judiciary has sufficient space in which to effectively administer justice.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I'm looking forward to hearing from both of our witnesses today, and it's now my pleasure to yield to our distinguished ranking member, Mr. Costello of Illinois.
Mr. COSTELLO. Mr. Chairman, thank you.
Mr. Chairman, I do have an opening statement. I will submit it for the record as opposed to giving it now.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Without objection.
Mr. COSTELLO. I welcome our witnesses here today and look forward to hearing their testimony. As you know, we have a colleague who is sitting in with us and I would hope that you would recognize him at this time.
Mr. LATOURETTE. I'd be happy to recognize and without objection and by unanimous consent we'll have Mr. Blumenauer sit as a member of our Committee for participation in today's hearing. I hope he likes it so much he wants to be a member of the Subcommittee at all times, and Mr. Blumenauer, if there's something you'd like to say, we'd welcome you.
Mr. BLUMENAUER. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Costello. As you know, I gravitate toward this Subcommittee on several occasions, and I would appreciate your invitation. I deeply appreciate the Committee's courtesy in allowing me to participate in your deliberations today.
I personally am deeply interested in what GSA has done. As the Federal Government is the largest landlord, land owner and employer in the country, it has a profound impact on the quality of life in our communities. And I would, with your permission, Mr. Chairman, just put one little item in the record where I would be seeking some feedback from GSA. I know they've been doing a lot of work dealing with issues surrounding historic structures.
Sometimes when scoring for seismic retrofitting and remodeling, there's a little difficulty in historic structures being able to make the cut. I'm pleased, however, that it looks like one historic structure we've got in my community, an old, historic courthouse, will receive retrofit funding. I'm interested in policy changes that might supplement what GSA is doing, so that it doesn't require extraordinary action, whether that's legislative or some other appropriate adjustment, to have repairs and alterations funded for historic properties.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC With your permission, I would look forward to working with the Subcommittee on legislation that comes before us and perhaps the introduction of other legislation that might make it less arduous to provide protection that these treasures need that are scattered throughout the country.
Mr. LATOURETTE. I appreciate the gentleman's observations, and we'd be more than happy to work with the gentleman and have as always found his ideas over the time we served together in Congress to be good ones. And without objection, what everyone has submitted into the record for GSA's observations we're pleased to have.
Mr. BLUMENAUER. Thank you very much.
Mr. LATOURETTE. With that being said, I'd now like to invite Mr. Perry, if he would, just come up to the witness table for the purpose of introducing GSA's witness, the new Commissioner, Joe Moravec.
Mr. PERRY. Thank you, Chairman LaTourette and Ranking Member Costello, members of the Subcommittee.
I am very pleased to have this opportunity, along with my other colleagues from GSA, to participate briefly in this hearing today. I want to take just a couple of minutes, actually, before I turn the presentation over to Joe Moravec, and talk a little bit about Joe, to do a couple of other things.
One is to introduce myself to those of you on the Committee or staff that I have not met, and say just a few words about one of our key aspirations at GSA. The Chairman already alluded to it, as it was a part of my testimony during the time of my confirmation hearing. And that namely is to improve our communication and our working relationship with this Subcommittee and with the other Congressional committees which have oversight responsibility for GSA activities.
As has been mentioned, I'm Steve Perry, the newly appointed Administrator of GSA. I was confirmed on the 30th of May by the Senate. I took the oath of office on the 31st and my first day in the office was the next day, June 1st. Immediately after that, our Commissioner of Public Buildings, Joe Moravec, who's seated here at the table to my left, joined the GSA team, took the oath of office on the 4th of June and has been working very diligently since that time.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As you know, Joe has a very distinguished career in fields that are very much related to the work and responsibility of the Public Buildings Service. He also has distinguished himself, I think, in terms of his commitment to public service. So we are delighted, in fact, ecstatic, about Joe's joining the team.
Both of us have been hard at work with the other members of the GSA team since joining. We've been working on developing and refining our approach to achieve continuous improvement and high performance in the organization in every aspect of our work. Obviously Joe has been, as our new Commissioner of Public Buildings Service, focused on the issues which are the subject of today's hearing, and he will cover those issues in the course of today's presentation, which he will make, and in his answers to the Committee's questions with respect to that.
The other item that I wanted to present to you on behalf of all of us at GSA, while I have the opportunity in the course of this introduction, is that as we all embark on this journey of high performance and continuous improvement, one of the special areas of emphasis that we have is to improve the effectiveness of our communication with this Subcommittee and with other Congressional committees which have oversight responsibility for GSA. This improved communication will help us in a number of ways. One of them is by enabling us to be strongly aligned to the clearly articulated goals that we all have for GSA in providing services to other Federal agencies. A second is to have a common understanding of the measurements that we will use to assess our progress and to hold ourselves accountable for achieving the results that we are committed to achieve. Thirdly, this enhanced process for communication and relationship building will enable us to ultimately achieve our success through our collaborative efforts.
Actually, we've begun to work on this issue by discussing it initially with some members of Congress and with several members of the staff of this and other oversight committees. The response and receptivity to this point has been very, very enthusiastic. So I have great expectations for the success of this initiative.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In closing, Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, I felt it was important for me not only to be here to introduce Joe as he takes on this great new responsibility within GSA, but also it was important for me to personally report to you on our aspiration to improve our communications and therefore our performance with respect to the activities of GSA, not only in the Public Buildings Service arena, but across the enterprise.
So with that, thank you very much for the opportunity to present that.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Mr. Perry, we very much thank you for coming and introducing Mr. Moravec. Welcome to you, and we'd be more than pleased to hear from GSA.
STATEMENT OF JOSEPH MORAVEC, COMMISSIONER, PUBLIC BUILDINGS SERVICE, U.S. GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION
Mr. MORAVEC. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee. My name is Joseph Moravec, and I'm the Commissioner of the Public Buildings Service, U.S. General Services Administration.
I'm pleased to appear before you today to provide information on the President's fiscal year 2002 budget request for the Federal buildings program. Our capital investment and leasing program plays a key role in providing the necessary resources to maintain current real property assets, acquire new and replacement assets and provide a high value work environment to the Federal work force.
The capital program supports several portfolio objectives. First, to maximize the Federal Buildings Fund income; secondly, to minimize the drain of unproductive assets; thirdly, to preserve the historical and cultural assets placed in GSA's trust; and finally, to manage the other diverse responsibilities that are integral to the management of the Nation's largest real estate portfolio.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC All proposed projects are evaluated in the context of the entire national portfolio. We consider three options when evaluating our client agency requirements. These include construction and acquisition of new facilities, repair and alteration of existing facilities, and leasing space from the private sector when neither of those are feasible.
I first would like to talk about repair and alteration. Our first capital program priority, and in my opinion, our most critical, is the repair and alteration of our existing inventory, existing owned inventory, to ensure that its value and condition does not further decline. More than 43 percent of our own buildings are over 50 years old, older than me, and 51 percent are between the ages of 21 and 50 years old, which is really nearing functional obsolescence by most people's standards.
Our inventory primarily consists, I'm sad to say, of old and tired buildings. Two-thirds of them are really classified as Class C or lower, which is truly not desirable. And even worse, we're not keeping pace with the deferred maintenance needs of these buildings. We are requesting repair and alterations program this year of $826.7 million for an increased emphasis on the overall maintenance and viability of these assets. The highlights of GSA's fiscal year 2002 program include $370 million for the basic program, spread across the entire portfolio, $400.8 million, approximately, for the construction phase of the modernization and alterations program. Those are the big items that affect, really, the entire building. Just a little under $6.7 million for heating, ventilating and air conditioning modernization, across the portfolio. And $15.588 million for the removal of PCBs primarily housed in transformers of some of these older buildings.
The facilities under PBS' stewardship have functional replacement value, by our reckoning, of about $33 billion, and the repair and upgrade of these facilities, as I have said, is our top priority. We try to adhere to an industry standard of making between 2 and 4 percent of the functional replacement value of our portfolio available each year for repairs and alterations. That would equate to money somewhere in the area of between $600 million and $1.2 billion or $1.3 billion. This year, we're asking for somewhere right in the middle of that, $826 million.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC To allocate the limited resources of the Federal buildings fund for repairs and alterations projects, we evaluate and rank our proposals based on the following criteria. First, economic justification. We want to get a return on our investment. If we're going to invest money in buildings to fix them up, we want to make sure that we use good business sense and that we get a return on our invested capital.
Secondly, project timing and execution. We want to make sure that when we begin a project, we can do it in a timely manner and conclude it expeditiously and without endless delay.
Thirdly, physical urgency. We look at the state of the building and in some cases, I'm sorry to report, we actually have life, fire and safety issues. It's sort of at that state. Physical urgency is an important consideration when we prioritize these expenditures.
Fourth, client agency needs. The clients are our customers, we're a customer service organization and those are the people that we try to be responsive to.
And finally but by no means last, historical significance. PBS has, as mentioned, about 400 buildings of the approximately 1,750 buildings that the Government owns that qualify for the historic register. Some of these have national landmark status. This is really the historical and architectural heritage of our country, and we take that very much into consideration when we're considering where we should put our money for these repairs and alterations.
PBS applies these criteria, the previous five that I've just mentioned, while protecting the safety and health of the tenants, in these owned and leased assets, while altering vacant space in owned assets to relocate client agencies from leased space into Government owned space whenever possible and whenever it's available.
Finally, we give priority consideration to completing planned, phased modernization projects, follow-on phases of multi-phase projects. As you know, many of our projects come in phases and take years to complete, particularly the bigger ones.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC When evaluating repair and alteration projects, we also closely examine proposed project scope to ensure that these meet client agency requirements and facility needs. We work to determine if any possible changes in project scope can be made to realize cost savings without jeopardizing the project's goals, trying to be smart about how we spend the taxpayer's money. Refining project scope may free up additional funding for more projects. We realize we don't have an unlimited amount of money and we've got to make the best use of what we have.
By applying these criteria to our decision making process, we prioritize our major repair and alteration projects, and ensure that the most important ones in our national portfolio are funded.
I'd next like to speak about new construction. We are requesting a construction and acquisition facilities program of $663 million for fiscal year 2002. The highlights of the Administration's fiscal year 2002 program include $216.8 million for the design, site acquisition and construction associated with 12 Federal judiciary projects; $276.4 million in advance appropriation was approved in the fiscal year 2001 appropriation act for four additional Federal judiciary projects in Washington, Springfield, Massachusetts, Miami and Buffalo, New York; a little under $17.4 million for design and construction of six border stations; a little over $9 million for the design of the third phase of the FDA consolidation in White Oak in Montgomery County, Maryland; $5 million for the Southeast Federal Center Toxic Waste Remediation Site in Washington, D.C.; $6.268 million for site acquisition and design of a Federal Bureau of Investigations facility in Houston; a little over $34 million for the construction phase of a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration facility in Suitland, Maryland; $4.6 million for the demolition of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York City; and $2.8 million to complete the design of a facility for the U.S. Census Bureau in Suitland, Maryland; $5.9 million for general non-prospectus, construction projects, and $84.4 million for repayment to the Treasury Judgement Fund.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We recommend new construction where it will meet the new housing needs of a specific Federal agency or to consolidate several dispersed agencies with economically feasible long-term needs in a given locality. PBS traditionally pursues the construction and ownership solution for special purpose and needs facilities such as border stations and courthouses which are not readily available in the real estate market. Our construction request includes funding for site acquisition, design, construction and management and inspection costs of these Federal facilities.
In addition, the proposed new courthouse construction program conforms to provisions of the U.S. Courts Design Guide. The Guide lays out the standards to be followed for space in the United States courthouses. It is approved by the Judicial Conference of the United States. The projects included in the President's budget comply with the Design Guide's provisions without departures, including the number of courtrooms to be provided for resident, active and senior district judges, as well as for magistrate and bankruptcy judges.
That concludes my prepared statement, Mr. Chairman, and I will be pleased, of course, to answer any questions you or other members of the Subcommittee have on this matter. I'd like to say that I have several members of our staff with me today to help answer questions that I may not be able to answer, including, most importantly, my deputy, Paul Chistolini, who I think has appeared before you before, Bill Jenkins, who is a Special Assistant to the Commissioner and Bill Guerin, who is in charge of our Courts Management Program.
Mr. LATOURETTE. We thank you very much for your testimony, and we welcome your compatriots. You should know that they recently took me on a very exciting, fun-filled trip of Brooklyn.
Mr. LATOURETTE. A lot of members of Congress were in Hawaii and other places, I was at the Brooklyn Courthouse, but I enjoyed it very much and they took very good care of me.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As always happens when you let somebody new come to the Subcommittee, they want to come first. Mr. Blumenauer indicates he has just a couple of questions about some historic buildings. We'll let him go first, then we'll proceed in regular order. So Mr. Blumenauer, it's my pleasure to yield to you.
Mr. BLUMENAUER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I wondered if it would be possible just to elaborate, if you would, on how GSA attaches a priority to the historic structures. Given the fact that they have higher costs for construction and for maintenance, how you are able to do that? Are there any adjustments or assistance you need from Congress to make sure that you're able to take proper care of these 400 treasures as you so rightly characterized them?
Mr. MORAVEC. Well, obviously it's a highly subjective process. To the extent that something has actually been placed on the historic registry or has been granted certain historic status, that makes it a lot easier and that in effect certifies that they will get special treatment. Other than that, it takes some time to try to sort through the various options.
One of the interesting things we're doing in our Chief Architect's Office is enter into a program with Yale Architectural School to look at some of the buildings that are approaching, at least in age, anyway, this historic status, the 40, 50 year old buildings. We are attempting to develop, right now, a somewhat, I hesitate to use the word scientific, but a rational programmatic approach to attempting to screen buildings that we think will deserve preservation.
It's a very exciting project and we're honored to be associated with such a distinguished architectural school. I think the Committee has met a couple of times. They're going to draft guidelines. So I hope at some future opportunity to be able to present the findings of that to you. That would help us a lot, because it is basically a subjective thing. So that's what we're doing internally to try to respond.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And the point is obviously a very good one. Because with some of these buildings, you can't just apply a return on investment criteria or how many people it's helping. These are really, truly works of art, and part of our national legacy. So any help that Congress can give us in that regard is going to be welcome.
Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate your courtesy. I have just one question for the witness to ponder and at some point get back to the members of the Committee, whether, if there was a line item, for example, a set aside on the budget for historic renovations, of say, 1 percent, 10 percent or I don't know the appropriate number, but if there was an amount that was set aside for this purpose, would it make it easier to make ensure that some of these treasures that may not score well in a traditional sense, would nonetheless have money available to make sure that the historic property is adequately preserved?
If I could put that to the witness and perhaps follow up with him and your subcommittee staff at some point, I would appreciate it.
Mr. LATOURETTE. We'd be more than happy to do that, and we thank you very much for your participation today.
Mr. BLUMENAUER. Thank you.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Commissioner, I want to thank you for your testimony this afternoon. I know that I look forward and I think all the members of the Subcommittee look forward to working with you during the course of your term.
But since this is our first time meeting, perhaps you could give the Subcommittee a little bit of your background, how it is you find yourself here today and what real estate experience you've had during the course of your career.
Mr. MORAVEC. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I'm 50 years old, married and the father of two children. I live in Bethesda, Maryland. I grew up in the New York City area, went to school in New England and two weeks after graduation from school was working for a commercial real estate company in Boston. I worked there for a few years and then was sent to Washington in early 1978 to open our office in Washington.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC For about 25 years I made my career in the commercial real estate services business, working for companies that develop and manage, lease, sell, and finance, commercial property, mostly office buildings. That's my specialty. Most of that has been here in the Washington area. I've worked for a number of different companies, large and small, and had quite an exposure to the business.
Just before coming here, I was at George Washington University in a non-real estate capacity. I was kind of the new ventures guy, responsible for trying to identify commercially exploitable ideas that the University could turn into for-profit, non-traditional sources of revenue. And I must say that when I was asked to consider this opportunity, I was honored, and I am honored at the opportunity to serve in the public interest. It's been a personal goal of mine, and while it's coming to me rather later in life, nonetheless, I welcome it.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Thank you very much for that. You're certainly well qualified to do what it is you do. Now that we're well introduced to each other, I can ask you all the hard questions I have written down about GSA.
Mr. LATOURETTE. The first one is, the Committee has been, at least in my opinion, patient with the Administration on the ongoing procurement of space for an agency that's pretty near and dear to the heart of this Committee, and that is the Department of Transportation. It's my understanding that you continue to meet with OMB on this topic, but it's further my understanding that the environmental impact statement has been completed for some period of months, yet not released.
Since the release of the environmental impact statement, it's not the grand thing of release, it doesn't upset internal executive branch negotiations, it doesn't meet OMB approval, I'm wondering if you could shed some light on perhaps why it hasn't been released, or more importantly when can we expect its release.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MORAVEC. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. As a matter of fact, I met yesterday with our Assistant Regional Administrator for the National Capital Region on this very subject. Although there's no regulation that says we can't release this, it has apparently been our practice not to release the environmental impact statement findings until we're ready to announce a winner of the competition.
And so in effect, I was told that announcing the results of our EIS, would in effect, as far as the community and the other bidders were concerned, be tantamount to announcing the finalist. There are four finalists, so we've wanted to do it in tandem with the long hoped for resolution of the DOT lease matter.
Mr. LATOURETTE. OK, well, obviously the site of the new DOT building is something that's of great interest to everybody on the Committee, and certainly to our former colleague who's now the Secretary. I would just ask as a follow-up, would it help at all in the negotiations with OMB if it was released, or no?
Mr. MORAVEC. I can't see how it would help. I can't see how it would.
Mr. LATOURETTE. The second building that sort of has my attention is the GSA request for $8 million in design funds for the Bureau of Census in Suitland, Maryland. It has an additional $2.8 million in addition to the $5.2 requested or authorized last year, for repairs and alterations to FOB 3. I'm just wondering if you can provide the Subcommittee with some clarity and guidance on how to address the headquarter needs of the Census, and whether or not we're going to be back after looking at this particular item in the prospectus with a change sheet.
Mr. MORAVEC. That is of course possible. The background is that we are proceeding along the lines of taking the Census people who are in Federal Building 3, which is a very old and tired building, and building a brand new building of about 770,000 square feet for them. That's what this design money is for. We would deliver that building before 2007, which is what they tell us needs to be done so that they can get ready to do their work for 2010. We've been proceeding on that basis.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The plan was then to go back to Federal Building 3 and consider how to substantially modernize it, and then backfill that space with the rest of the Census group. I presume that you're referring to knowledge of conversations that we've been having with Census about the micromanagement of the actual move and providing swing space for people, and just the incredible logistics involved in bringing people out and then bringing them back.
We've also been in conversations with them with regard to the expense and the possible savings of consolidating this requirement with another requirement that would take care of Census' total need. Census' total needs are approximately 1.4 million, or roughly double the size of the building we're contemplating building for them. I want you to know, Mr. Chairman, that we're having a serious conversation with them about that. I don't think we're ready to decide exactly what we recommend. But that conversation is going on.
Mr. LATOURETTE. And my last question for this round, as I indicated, I spent my Memorial Day vacation in Brooklyn, in particular at the Emmanual Cellar Courthouse in Brooklyn. The Subcommittee has received a number of letters, as a matter of fact, I think everybody that represents that part of the city of New York and serves in Congress has written us letters requesting that this Subcommittee authorize an additional $32 million for that project. It centers on the building out of courtrooms, eight, I think if I remember correctly.
The question that was asked during the course of the meeting was that if the Subcommittee were to authorize that additional $32 million, again complying with the requests of our many, many colleagues who have asked us to do that, and we're able to achieve an appropriation as well, can you indicate whether or not the GSA would be able to obligate those funds for this project in a timely fashion? I think the timely fashion that was talked about was 15 months in order to get that squared away.
Mr. MORAVEC. I certainly don't want to be too cute, particularly not in my premier appearance before you. The answer is yes, we could certainly make an award in fiscal year 2002. But we're not recommending that. We don't think that makes good business sense. And the reason for that is because it would result in a massive change order. We anticipate it would cause a huge escalation in costs, possible litigation, and we just don't think that makes good sense from a business point of view.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I can tell you that we are going to proceed with all due haste once the base new courthouse is built to move right along and build out the other eight courtrooms that are required. We hope to be able to do that in a nice sequence, it hardly ever works out that way, but in a nice sequence with the completion of the base building. That's how we'd like to do it.
But the answer to the question is, yes, we could make an award in fiscal year 2002.
Mr. LATOURETTE. But you'd prefer not to. And does your concern have to do with the sole sourcing of the contract that would have to
Mr. MORAVEC. Yes, it does.
Mr. LATOURETTE. OK. Thanks very much.
Mr. COSTELLO. Mr. Chairman, thank you. I'm not clear on the answer to the status of the Department of Transportation building. It's my understanding that the preferred alternative has been over at OMB since October. Can you give us more of a status report? And secondly, do we have a fallback plan if Plan A doesn't work?
Mr. MORAVEC. First, let me say that this is a very regretable situation. We're embarrassed, the Administration is embarrassed, DOT is embarrassed, GSA is embarrassed. This does not make the Federal Government look good. It certainly doesn't help DOT get their much-needed headquarters. It certainly makes us, GSA, as the agency for providing these new headquarters, look very bad in terms of our process. It hurts our credibility with the community. So that's all absolutely true, and there's really no logical excuse for it.
We are continuing to discuss with other elements of the Administration how to break the logjam. We are at this point about to propose what we hope will be an acceptable solution, and we want to get on with it. I can tell you that there is certainly no specific project that I have yet become aware of that is of higher priority to me in terms of getting it resolved.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. COSTELLO. Does that mean there is a fallback plan?
Mr. MORAVEC. Well, not one that necessarily would be acceptable to the Subcommittee. The only people that are benefiting right now from all this are the owners of the present building, the Nassif building. They are in the catbird seat as long as we don't resolve this. The fallback position would not be a very pleasant or good one for us.
Mr. COSTELLO. Well, I share the Chairman's concern, I hope that this gets worked out, and we will be visiting with you in future, in the very near future, about a possible resolution.
In recent years, GSA has submitted a retrofit proposal for our Federal buildings. I'm wondering, one, it was not submitted, at least to my knowledge, in fiscal year 2002. But one, have you submitted a retrofit proposal for our Federal buildings and for the fiscal year coming up? And number two, did you submit one to OMB?
Mr. MORAVEC. I'm not sure I understand.
Mr. COSTELLO. For the energy efficiency program.
Mr. MORAVEC. We have of course as part of our ongoing program. Throughout our repair and alterations request is money to improve the energy efficiency of the buildings, though we have not asked for significant prospectus level funding for that, no.
Mr. COSTELLO. But in previous years, there were specific requests for energy efficiency retrofitting for Federal buildings. My point is, this year, I understand that you have not submitted a specific proposal.
Mr. MORAVEC. That's my understanding.
Mr. COSTELLO. Was there one submitted to OMB?
Mr. MORAVEC. Yes, there was, but we couldn't afford it in terms of the other priorities.
Mr. COSTELLO. Do you know what the specific request was for, a dollar amount?
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MORAVEC. About $30 million.
Mr. COSTELLO. About $30 million. I would ask that, Commissioner, if you would submit a copy of that request to the Committee so we can look at that.
Quickly, staying on the topic of energy efficiency, I wonder what the policy is of GSA as far as energy efficiency in procurement. What is the policy of the agency?
Mr. MORAVEC. The policy is to at all times and in all places make decisions that support the purchase of energy efficient products and services. We're very proud of our Build Green program, which is attempting to build environmentally sensitive buildings that incorporate energy savings and ecologically sensitive features into all of our buildings. We are, obviously, because one of our principal, if you will, business objectives, is to increase funds from operations, so we can have more money for repair and alterations and new construction. We're looking in every way we can to minimize costs. Obviously, reducing energy costs is a very important way of doing that.
We're proud of the progress we've made since 1985. I think I'm correct in saying that we've reduced energy consumption in Federal buildings by 20 percent over that time frame. We are continuing to. I think our goal this year is for 2 percent further reduction. And we're going to continue to whack away at it.
Part of the problem, as I mentioned earlier, is that a lot of our buildings are older and were not designed to be energy efficient. So we're taking care of that at every opportunity. A lot of the repair and alterations money goes into heating, ventilating, air conditioning, electrical, and mechanical refitting. Obviously we're doing whatever we can when we make those changes to specific assets to do so in a way that is up to date in terms of taking full advantage of whatever technology exists to reduce energy consumption.
Mr. COSTELLO. Quick question if I can get a quick answer. How does PBS implement the Buy American program, both for construction, repair and alteration? And number two, is there a policy of sanctions if in fact that policy is violated, the Buy American policy?
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MORAVEC. I'm sorry to say, Congressman, I can't give you a quick answer to that, but we would be glad to follow up with a complete answer for the record on that question.
Mr. COSTELLO. Are there sanctions in place? Is there someone who can answer that question? Obviously there have been violations. And when someone violates
Mr. MORAVEC. I'm sorry, I don't know the answer to that question.
Mr. COSTELLO. I would ask for the record that you submit both the policy, what the policy is for implementing the Buy American policy of the Congress, and number two, what happens if someone violates a Buy American policy if sanctions are in place. And secondly, the number of violations that have occurred in recent years, some documentation on that as well.
Mr. MORAVEC. It will be done.
Mr. COSTELLO. Mr. Chairman, I assume we have to go vote.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Yes, we do, and if you have more questions when we come back, I'd be happy to recognize you before we go to Ms. Holmes Norton. We're going to stand in recess pending a vote, which is about six minutes, and we'll reconvene as quickly as we can get back here. I ask for your patience.
Mr. LATOURETTE. The Subcommittee will come back to order. I thank you for your patience.
Mr. Costello indicates he's finished with his questioning. We'll now turn to Ms. Holmes Norton for questions she may have.
Ms. NORTON. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Moravec, I'm pleased to welcome you to your new post and your first hearing before our Committee. Let me say how pleased I am to see the FDA repair in your capital investment program. This Committee of course had one of, perhaps the very first hearing on a matter deeply implicating the FDA building, which has been a ghost hanging over the GSA and this Committee for some years now, because it was clear that the Government wanted to make use of the building at a time when, as always, there's not enough space for, especially Government owned space, and especially in Washington.
I'd like to ask you what primary use, let me preface this by saying, the Committee was clear on a bipartisan basis, as of course it must under our jurisdiction be, that to the extent a building is not excess or surplus, it must be used for Government purposes. So we've indicated that inasmuch as the Administration in its own budget put the funds you are now requesting that this was a project we were glad to see settled one way or the other, with real money on the line, so that GSA was putting its money where its mouth was.
I wonder if you have a notion of how the renovated FDA building will be used?
Mr. MORAVEC. Are you referring to Federal Building 8?
Ms. NORTON. Yes, Federal Building 8, right on the mall or near the mall.
Mr. MORAVEC. I don't have a notion as to exactly which of our customers will occupy the building at this time. I don't know that that's been determined. It's certainly our intention to continue to keep it in the Federal office inventory.
Ms. NORTON. To the extent that you have, I mean, we've heard that it might be used for swing space, we've heard, however, that it's big enough to actually be used for an agency or part of an agency, to the extent that an agency, especially one located in the District of Columbia, can find space in the District of Columbia, the agencies always desire that. They're renting space in the region only because there's not enough space in the 10 square miles, now less than that, that the framers left for the Nation's capital.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Let me also thank you, thank GSA, for, as I am informed by the Justice Department, that the GSA police are now part of my Police Coordination Act, which allows the GSA police to do what other Federal police, including the Capitol Police, now do, and that is to not simply sit in their own buildings, and if the Committee can believe this, we were paying people, paying them, training them well, and if there was a traffic accident outside of their building, and if there was a crime, these agency police, not at the direction of GSA, understand, this seems to have been left to the agency, would dial 911 for the hard pressed city police who are patrolling our neighborhoods. Congress fixed that with the Capitol Police by enabling them to patrol part of the Capitol Hill community. I put in an additional bill to allow the agency police to patrol around their buildings. If there's an accident in front of their buildings, not call the D.C. police. And GSA police are the most important of these agencies to come on, because you cover most of the agencies in the District of Columbia. So I appreciate the way in which the GSA has cooperated on that.
I'd like to take up where my two colleagues left off, our Chairman and our Ranking Member. I'd like to get very specific here, because I think there's a precedent involved. And I'd like to know why GSA does not act on this precedent.
The DOT building should not be at the OMB. Not after it was authorized here in this way. It is there because of language in an appropriations bill in 1998 that said, specifically said, and if it hadn't specifically said it wouldn't be there, that this should go to the OMB. Mind you, there are people at the OMB and people generally who would have disagreed that they should be at DOT. So one way to stop it is to do something not too clever by half, maybe clever enough to have held it up for five or six years.
Well, there it stood. This Committee has requested an opinion, not brought on by the DOT building, but brought on by another building, the National Health Museum, that wanted to occupy the FDA building. The National Health Museum alleged they had language in a one year appropriation that was binding on this Committee, and that language was that whatever we wanted to do with the FDA building, too bad, because in law, the Congress had said it must be used for the National Health Museum.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Well, the Committee looked behind that, got a CRS opinion. The CRS reported the language in appropriation, in order to be binding beyond the one year period must contain certain phrases. Congress is very careful about when it uses those phrases, because it knows it is using an appropriations bill not to affect something in the next year, usually one year is all you need, but to put something in Federal law. So CRS looked for those phrases. Those phrases are not in the one year appropriation that in 1998 sent the DOT building to the OMB.
What that means, Mr. Moravec, is that you are fully authorized as I speak to move forward. Because your authorization was held up for only one year. And let me go further. Not only are you authorized by allowing the OMB to hold up the DOT, you are in violation of your own regulations that say you must compete a building where the agency has been there 30 years or more.
We say that for a reason. I don't know how many times over you have bought the Nassif building, but you obviously are buying it again. So we say, compete. If they win it, when you compete, fine. But don't just sit in it. I think that by, you're in violation of the law in not moving on an appropriation, but holding it beyond the one year period for an appropriation, you're in violation by not competing this building. I want to know if you are aware of that, and if in light of that, you are willing, at the very least, to say what the preferred alternative site is for the DOT building.
Mr. MORAVEC. I was not aware that we were authorized to move ahead, because of this provision having to do with holding money beyond the year. But certainly I will look into it.
Ms. NORTON. I wish you would look into it. And let me ask you this, if you could within the next week write to the Chair concerning your view of the CRS opinion, we have our view, but we asked the CRS to look closely at it. And what you intend to do, because you said, if I recall in answer to one of the questions of my colleagues, that you did have a plan for moving forward, what that plan is. You can write it, so we don't have to share it with the whole world.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Because I must tell you, I have already indicated at a meeting of the full Committee that this matter was just what you say it is, so unusual, such an embarrassment to the entire Federal Government, that the Committee couldn't just sit here ''waiting for Godot.'' Somebody's got to act to break the logjam. If you can't break it and understand what it means to have the OMB kind of staring you at the face, I caution you that that's normally some budget examiner who's exercising authority over his pay grade. So understand the position it puts you in.
But I think it puts the Committee in the position of indeed having that hearing and then forcing this embarrassment out into the open. Because it seems to me we are indeed in violation of our obligation. If we, knowing what we know, that you're sitting on a building that should have been competed four or five years ago, and using an OMB authorization that is ineffective to keep them from competing it, we can't sit here and say, see no evil, hear no evil.
My question is, are you willing to write within the next week so that the Chairman knows what if any are his options to take in this matter, on the two matters? One, the CRS opinion with respect to the National Health Museum, and two, the effect of being overdue in the mandate to compete a building that you are in more than 30 years, and I think 1998 or so, I forget the exact date, you were due to be out of that building, or compete it, one or the other.
Mr. MORAVEC. We certainly will be responsive to that.
Ms. NORTON. I would very much appreciate it. And I wish you would send me a copy. Write it to the Chairman and Ranking Member, of course, but I would appreciate a copy as well, if it's all right with the Chairman.
Could I ask a question about the Southeast Federal Center? You indicate in your own capital investment program that there will be $5 million in remediation to the Southeast Federal Center. I very much appreciate that. There has already been extensive remediation, however. I wonder if this is the last remediation that will be necessary to make it ready for construction?
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MORAVEC. I don't believe it will be. I think there's a bit more work to be done there on other parts of the site. It's a continuing process, and we really haven't gotten to the bottom. As you know, it was used for many purposes, many toxic purposes, for many, many years. It's a dirty site, and we've spent an awful lot of money over the last decade trying to clean it up. I'm afraid that it's going to continue to require money for those purposes.
Ms. NORTON. I ask that in part because there's an overall RFP. First I want to know, if the remediation isperhaps you can tell us what the progress is on getting an RFP out for the site and whether or not the remediation would have anything to do with the progress to be made on looking more generally at the site.
Mr. MORAVEC. First, Congresswoman, let me say that as a real estate person, I regard the Southeast Federal Center as one of the great opportunities for real estate development, not only in this city, but perhaps even on the Eastern Seaboard. It's a wonderful, wonderful opportunity, to have 55 acres that close to Capitol Hill and in such a dramatic place is really wonderful. So it's an opportunity we don't want to misuse.
We have been actively working with the city of Washington to address the basic parameters for the development that we'd like to see occur on that site. We're addressing design issues, engineering issues, infrastructure, land use, criteria that we want to include in an RFQ, request for qualification, which we would like to issue this year, in the year 2001. The use it will ultimately be determined by the private sector and by the forces of good old capitalism. We want to get out to the community and invite them to step up on this this year.
What we're trying to do is just make sure there's perfect synchronicity between us and the city in terms of what we want to see done there. And that's going on, and that, I understand, is a very fruitful and constructive conversation.
Ms. NORTON. Remediation doesn't have to do with that
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MORAVEC. No, that doesn't hold us up from proceeding. These are parallel processes.
One of the things we have to determine is whether we're looking for master development for the whole site, looking for one entity to try to take on the whole thing, or whether we want to do it in phases or whether we want to make site specific offerings. Fundamental questions like that are what we're wrestling with. Because it's such a tremendous opportunity, we obviously don't want to blow it. We want to do it right. But I can assure you that we are moving with all due urgency.
Ms. NORTON. Well, it certainly is my sense, I want to thank you for the way GSA is involving D.C. in the process, so that it's in keeping with the master plan for the city and with how the NCP is looking at the city. So I don't have any complaints about the way you're going. I just want to make sure that it keeps going this way. If you say within a year, you think that the RFQ will be out, that seems to me to be good time.
How about the River Walk? That is another exciting development around the southeast, here we have all this Federal land, the Navy Yard, Southeast Federal Center. Most of this land, of course, in one way or the other, is DOD land, if you think about it. We have gotten a dozen agencies from the Federal Government and D.C. to sign onto an MOU cooperating on this River Walk which will go all around the Anacostia. And of course, it's central to making the highest and best use of the Southeast Federal Center.
I'd like to know, I worry about who is the lead agency there. I have a certain amount of trust in the GSA, which is engaged in building all over the United States. Will GSA be the lead agency in putting together the dozen or so agencies, once we really get going? And I know a lot the design work, very exciting design work, is being done. But who's going to be in charge of seeing that it gets done?
Mr. MORAVEC. I don't think that's been determined yet. I do know that GSA has been and will continue to play an important role in the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative. A number of other wonderful things that are happening to try to transform that river and make it what it ought to be to the city. I don't know that we've determined exactly what our role will be. As of course you know, there are a number of public and private interests that are trying to advance their ideas for how that ought to unfold.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I'm glad, as you know, we're very much at the table and very much a part of the process. I'd be proud if we could take a leadership role in helping that go forward.
Ms. NORTON. Yes, you have the Corps of Engineers, you have a whole bunch of folks. I don't have any preference, I don't want the Department of Public Works in the District of Columbia to do it. They hardly pave our streets half the time. But some Federal agency that, once it all gets together, that is ready to pick up the thing and run with it.
And frankly, I think the earlier that gets decided, the better. Because I think if somebody at the lead agency would like to move forward more quickly, and I'd like to have conversations with you and perhaps with the Corps of Engineers, with somebody from the DOD, just to discuss, why don't you all figure that out?
It's your decision to be made, it's the Administration's decision to be made. But as long as it's kind of nobody's responsibility, that's going to slow up the River Walk.
Mr. Chairman, I have a few more questions, but if you're having rounds, I'll defer.
Mr. LATOURETTE. I think we'll let you finish up.
Ms. NORTON. Thank you very much. I don't have much more.
I'd like to ask you about the EPA building. Here I hope we're not in the process of getting another white elephant. For years, the EPA has been in this humongous building, it was once a sick building, they claim it is no longer, I don't want to get into that discussion. Down on Fourth Street, S.W., some of EPA is left in there, much is gone. There are some other kinds of little things here and there that are in there.
The southeast-southwest community is a very solid, middle income community, the public housing has been fixed. It's amazing to look at it, because it's so solid, housing is so scarce in the District of Columbia, people are building half million dollar houses overlooking the Southwest Freeway. I mean, just to live in those brand new homes.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The EPA building is in that community. D.C. is about to try to do something not only because of what we've done with the Southeast Federal Center but because of the southwest waterfront. If the building where EPA is empties out entirely, and it's getting there, then you'll have this hulk that nobody's in. The reason I pose this to you is because time and time again, we hear agencies crying because parts of them have to move out. You will find that all these agencies really want to be in D.C. They want to be as close to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and to the Capitol of the United States as possible. So even though many of them live out there, they really think those are the outposts, that's Podunk out there.
Now, here we have a building, huge, what is EPA going to do with that building? Do you need that building for Federal space? Should D.C. try to get that building off, I mean, is there somebody in the private sector, will you come running to us or to this Committee at some point and say, oh, my God, we don't have enough space, so, Committee, can we move out to Virginia or Maryland? Because I'm going to say, whatever happened to the EPA building?
Mr. MORAVEC. Our plan is to help EPA get out of the building and then I understand that the city owns the land under the building. It's our plan to let the city decide what it wants to do with the building.
Ms. NORTON. So you do not need that building for Federal office space?
Mr. MORAVEC. No, we do not.
Ms. NORTON. All right. Finally, just let me say, Mr. Moravec, I should say for the record that Mr. Moravec lives in Maryland, has been very helpful to the District of Columbia, and I think I speak for the residents of the District of Columbia regarding your recent experience when I say, you are invited to move to any home you like in the District of Columbia.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MORAVEC. Thank you very much. Very gracious of you, Congresswoman.
Mr. LATOURETTE. I thank the gentlelady very much. I would simply ask unanimous consent to put on whatever answers the Commissioner supplies on the record, and also ask unanimous consent that a number of our colleagues have sent both you and I some letters concerning projects contained in the GSA first strike list. I would ask unanimous consent that those also be made part of the record.
And we thank you very much for your testimony.
Mr. MORAVEC. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Our next witness this afternoon is Judge Jane Roth, who is the Chairman of the Judicial Conferences Committee on Security and Facilities.
Judge Roth, we welcome you to our hearing, and you may proceed at any time you are ready.
STATEMENT OF JUDGE JANE R. ROTH, JUDICIAL CONFERENCE OF THE UNITED STATES, U.S. COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT
Judge ROTH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the Subcommittee. I appreciate the opportunity to testify as chairman of the Judicial Conference's Committee on Security and Facilities. Chairman LaTourette, I look forward to working with you, Representative Costello, Representative Norton and the other members of the Committee and the staff.
On behalf of the entire Judiciary, I would like to express our appreciation for the authorizations of courthouse projects that this Subcommittee recommended and the full Committee approved last year. Unfortunately, not all these projects have received appropriations yet. We hope to get those much-needed projects funded and moving ahead this year.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC President Bush's fiscal year 2002 budget request includes $216.8 million for courthouse construction projects and $130.3 million for court related repair and alteration projects. The Subcommittee's letter to the White House in support of funding for courthouse construction was very helpful in achieving this result.
While the Judiciary appreciates the fact that some courthouse construction funding was included in the Administration's budget request, that request does not include all the courthouse projects which critically need funding in fiscal year 2002. The Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure has previously provided authorization for 11 of the 12 courthouse construction projects in the President's budget request. Some projects from previous years may need to have their authorizations increased for inflation.
There are also 10 new projects not included in the President's budget which the Judiciary supports for fiscal year 2002: Rockford, Illinois; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Nashville, Tennessee; Savannah, Georgia; Fort Pierce, Florida; Jackson, Mississippi; Austin, Texas; San Diego, California; Cape Girardeau, Missouri; and San Jose, California. The House has already provided authorizations for three of these projects, although these resolutions may need to be increased due to inflation.
In past years, the Committee has requested 11(b) studies for projects which were not included in the President's budget. We urge the Subcommittee to make a similar request this year. I have attached a chart to this statement that summarizes the Judiciary's requests for fiscal year 2002 authorizations by this Subcommittee.
The Judicial Conference also supports construction of a Federal office building to house the Court of Appeals staff and other Federal agencies in Atlanta, Georgia. We appreciate the requests made by this Subcommittee and the full Committee last month for GSA to study the situation in Atlanta and provide a report on the housing needs.
In addition, the Judicial Conference requests that the Subcommittee authorize the courthouse construction project in Miami, Florida. Last year, this project was authorized by the Senate and received an advance appropriation which will be available in fiscal year 2002. The Judiciary requests that the House provide an authorization for Miami of $136.9 million, which is the funding level sought last year escalated for inflation. The Judiciary supports a plan worked out by GSA and the court for constructing 14 courtrooms and shelling out 2 courtrooms to be finished when they are needed.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Finally the Judiciary requests that the Subcommittee authorize an additional $26 million to complete the Brooklyn, New York courthouse annex. Mr. Chairman, we greatly appreciate the visit that you and your staff made to this project last month. As you heard, the additional $26 million in funding is needed to build out the eight courtrooms and eight chambers in the annex as planned and authorized.
These courtrooms and chambers are crucial to accommodate the judges that will be working when the annex opens and to permit the planned renovation of the existing courthouse. I am submitting for the record a separate statement by Judge Raymond Dearie of the Eastern District of New York which elaborates on the serious housing problem that will be created if sufficient space is not constructed at this time.
Representative LaTourette, you have seen the need in Brooklyn. We urge that you authorize this project. We will work with GSA to reach a final resolution of the needs in the Eastern District of New York as soon as possible. But we do urge that this project be authorized.
Ten years ago, the Judiciary, Congress and the General Services Administration embarked on a construction program to replace court facilities. Delayed funding of courthouse projects can result in significant cost increases. Although GSA has estimated that construction costs are increasing an average of 3 to 4 percent for each year delay, there have been some situations where escalation factors have been significantly higher.
As a result, had the 20 projects on the Judiciary's plan for fiscal year 2002 been built when they were originally scheduled, the projected costs would have been approximately $50 million lower than they are today. Moreover, the workload of the Federal courts continues to increase, necessitating additional judges and court staff.
Many of the courthouses in use today are more than 50 years old and do not meet the needs of the modern day judicial system. A major problem is security for the jurors, witnesses, court employees, judges and for the public. The courthouses frequently have operational problems such as inadequate heating and ventilation systems and electrical systems that are incompatible with modern technology requirements.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC A courthouse project is not proposed for consideration unless the district's long-range facility plan indicates that there is no more room for judges in the existing facility. Usually this determination is made after all executive branch agencies and court related units have been moved from the existing building. Therefore, the projects on the Judiciary's prioritized five year plan are urgently needed when they are placed on the plan, and delays only exacerbate operational problems.
We have provided the Subcommittee staff with a fact sheet on each courthouse project that describes the current housing situation and the need for a project at that location. The Judiciary's problems are particularly acute along the southwest border, where drug and immigration enforcement efforts have caused the workload to more than double, and where proximity to the Mexican border magnifies security risks. Three of the courthouse projects requested for fiscal year 2002 are located along the southwest border.
The Federal Judiciary, working with GSA, has taken many steps to economize and ensure better management of the courthouse construction program without sacrificing functionality. The courthouse construction process has become increasingly rigorous, disciplined and structured over the past several years as a result of these actions. The planning process was designed to provide the Judiciary with a systematic, apolitical method of identifying and defining the need for new courthouse projects. This planning process has been commended by the General Accounting Office, the General Services Administration and by Ernst and Young. Courthouse construction also conforms to the United States Courts Design Guide that identifies functional requirements for courthouses. The Judiciary is grateful for the resources provided for the courthouse construction program so far. However, recent delays in courthouse funding have created a backlog of facilities that need replacement. Therefore, the Judiciary asks that you authorize in accordance with the Judiciary's stated needs the new courthouse projects on the attached list that have not already been authorized or that need their authorizations increased.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I thank you for the opportunity to testify before the Subcommittee, and I would be pleased to answer any questions that you might have.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Judge Roth, we thank you very much for your fine testimony. I want to say what a fine job the folks up in Brooklyn did. The Judiciary has an excellent advocate in Judge Dearie, who is not only very committed to what he does, but to the idea of an improved facility in Brooklyn.
I have to tell you that my experience, when I practiced law, with no disrespect, I felt I needed to take a course in theology to understand the Federal Judiciary. And I went with that attitude, I think, as I look.
But one of the things that I think shocked me more than the number of courtrooms or things of that nature was the security that you talked about, and the fact that the present configuration has prisoners walking down hallways and inadequate holding cells. Quite frankly, the magistrates' courtrooms were more than unimpressive. I've been in juvenile courtrooms in the inner cities of our country that were more impressive than the magistrates' courtrooms in that building.
And I took it seriously, and I'm sure going to communicate that to the other members of the Subcommittee what our experience was.
You indicated, though, that in order to get onto this five year priority plan, the process for that, you also talked about the fact that problems in the courthouses like security, prisoner circulation, holding cells, technology shortfalls and so forth and so on, greatly contributed to that, and getting them on there. My question is, are those projects, those that identify not simply a lack of courtroom space but talk about security and other things that would delay justice and the safety of the people who work there, are those the highest rated projects on the five year priority plan?
Judge ROTH. Yes, they are.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LATOURETTE. OK. Well, I'm glad to hear that.
I did want to talk to you about, aside from Brooklyn, two other courthouses that you mentioned and I think maybe in your chart, and we thank you for that. The level of authorization you're asking the Subcommittee to consider for the project in Miami is what?
Judge ROTH. The level of authorization that we're asking is $136,945,000.
Mr. LATOURETTE. It's my understanding that that request has grown from $121 million, was the previous request. Am I right in that?
Judge ROTH. I know that there has been a growth, I'm not sure what the previous number is. I can get that for you.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Are you aware as to whether or not this project has the support of the judges in the Florida delegation that would be affected?
Judge ROTH. My understanding is that there has been an agreement reached now between the courts and the General Services Administration on the design of the courthouse to be built.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Can you just briefly tell the Subcommittee what the status of the Orlando project is, to your understanding?
Judge ROTH. There are problems that we are trying to work out. Both GSA and the courts are interested in working them out. They have not been worked out to this date.
Mr. LATOURETTE. OK. When those are worked out, I suppose I'd ask both you and the GSA to advise the Subcommittee on what the resolution is with Orlando.
Judge ROTH. We'll be very happy to do so.
Mr. LATOURETTE. OK. And the last question I would have before yielding to the Ranking Member, are there any fiscal year 2002 projects under consideration that are exceptions, by that I mean that are not consistent with the 1997 United States courts design guide?
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Judge ROTH. The requests made by each circuit judicial council recognize the needs that have been requested by the specific courts. The Design Guide, of course, assumes a 10-year use of a courtroom by a senior judge. Experience varies by the actuality of what occurs. There are projects which have requested courtrooms for senior judges who are continuing to carry a full caseload beyond the 10-year assumed level. There are areas of the country where the continuing contribution by the senior judges tends to be longer.
I know that when I was a district judge in Delaware, two of the senior judges there had been carrying what we would call more than a 100 percent caseloada heavier caseload than the active judges10, 15 and 20 years beyond their taking senior status. The Judicial Councils have recognized in certain situations that expected need for a courtroom by a senior judge.
Mr. LATOURETTE. And I think just, my observation would be, I understand that the guide is just that, a guide. And again, when we were up in New York, I think the judge, who was a senior judge who actually handled the John Gotti case, was handling something over 500 cases a year.
But just speaking for myself now, I would hope that the guide remains a guide and we make exceptions for those districts or regions that are going to rely on senior judges to carry heavy caseloads past 10 years and not have a courtroom for every senior judge that decides he or she wants to serve an additional 10 years. I know there's a temptation to do that.
I would also make the observation that I for one happen to think that you need to have courtrooms available for judges, because that's the quickest way, lawyers are like members of Congress sometimes, they don't make a decision or settle until they actually see the jury sitting in the box. So I understand the need. But I do think that the rule made in 1997, that senior status judges that aren't carrying the active caseloads probably don't need their own courtroom. It is one that I would encourage folks to follow.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC With that, I yield to the distinguished Ranking Member.
Judge ROTH. If I might, Mr. Chairman, let me add that these special situations are considered by the circuit councils in each circuit in approving that use of space. So it is a request that undergoes careful scrutiny in the circuit involved.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Thank you.
Mr. COSTELLO. Mr. Chairman, thank you. Judge, it's good to see you here, and I enjoyed our meeting a few weeks ago to discuss the needs of the Judiciary.
Let me follow up on the Chairman's question and make a couple of comments. In my previous life, I was county executive in my home county, and prior to that, I was director of court services. We built a new courthouse and of course worked with the judges to plan enough courtrooms and so on. We had a very difficult time always trying to get judges to share courtrooms. I think like we are here on Capitol Hill, all of our committees want our own specific hearing room. It doesn't always work out that way.
I'm just wondering, is there a policy of sharing courtrooms in the Federal Judiciary?
Judge ROTH. The position of the Judicial Conference is that every active judge should have a courtroom, and that senior judges, as I have said, are assumed to need the use of a courtroom for 10 years.
However, if you will look at the numbers of courtrooms versus the number of judges on the projects on our list, there are, in fact, more judges than courtrooms. So there is a recognition, particularly given the number of senior judges, that in spirit, particularly in a large courthouse, there is a concept of courtroom sharing.
Mr. COSTELLO. But I guess there's not a national policy, then, it's left to each individual circuit court to determine who in fact will get a courtroom and who will not?
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Judge ROTH. Basically, it's a determination by the circuit council. I know that, for instance, Judge Vanaskie in the Middle District of Pennsylvania has established a process for the courtrooms available in the new courthouse in Scranton. There is inherent in the number of courtrooms a requirement for some courtroom sharing, and that is being done.
Basically, our position is that an active judge should have the use of a courtroom. As a former district judge, I know it is very important, when a courtroom is required, to know that there is a courtroom available. My personal experience reflects and validates, I feel, the Judicial Conference policy.
Mr. COSTELLO. What is the status of the Orlando courthouse project?
Judge ROTH. There has not been a resolution of that project finally. There are discussions going on, and with the change in administration, we feel that it is an opportunity to renew those discussions. It is, I think, the desire both of General Services Administration and the Judiciary that the problems be resolved, but they have not yet been resolved.
Mr. COSTELLO. Mr. Chairman, I have no further questions.
Thank you, Judge.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Thank you, Mr. Costello.
Ms. Holmes Norton.
Ms. NORTON. Judge Roth, this question about sharing courtrooms comes up every year. Obviously, there's a national policy, if you're active, you have a courtroom, presume you're at work every day, almost every day, if not, you don't. I wonder if the, and you say each, and I understand why each circuit has to implement that, I wonder if there's any guidance for the circuits so that you don't get some circuits being a lot more rigid or strict than others?
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And if there aren't, why aren't there some sense, I mean you all are judges, that's what judges expect from Congress, they want Congress to be as specific as possible in saying, at least illustrating the circumstances where sharing courtrooms would be fully justified, circumstances where they would not, and indicating how judges may go about making sure that we do have a national policy instead of one that's beholden to almost unlimited discretion in each jurisdiction.
Do you think that there needs to be a spelling out to give guidance to ten circuits so we can get more uniformity and this issue would not keep coming up every time you come before us?
Judge ROTH. I think we are giving guidance. We're giving guidance, actually in three ways. First of all, the Judicial Conference itself which of course is made up of a circuit judge and a district judge from every circuit has established a policy So the circuits have participated in formulation of that policy and have taken the bases for that policy back.
As chairman of the Committee on Security of Facilities, a year and a half ago I wrote a letter to the chief judge of each circuit, emphasizing and underlining the importance of the guidelines and asking that there be very careful consideration of any request for allotting a courtroom, for instance, in a situation where a senior judge would be using a courtroom that each of these exceptions be very carefully considered.
Ms. NORTON. Can you give us illustrations of exceptions? For example, these are the kinds of things that, it doesn't mean these are the only exceptions.
Judge ROTH. Yes. In the letter I did give some examples. And that letter was sent out, as I said, to the chief judges of all the circuits. In addition, every circuit has a space and facilities committee. The Judicial Conference Committee on Security and Facilities is made up of a judge from every circuit. And we have urged that the circuit committee member on our committee be made either a regular or an ex officio member of the circuit space committee. That way, the experience of our committee is transmitted to the circuit space committees, and in dealing with this type of issue you have someone experienced with the policy and the reasons behind the policy to help the circuit deal with it.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I, for instance, am in fact chairman of the Third Circuit space and facilities committee, and we have paid very close and careful attention to the circuit determinations of these issues.
Ms. NORTON. Judge Roth, I think it would be useful, since the question repeatedly comes up in these hearings, if you would provide a copy of your letter, which you say contains some illustrations, and any other materials that may be handed out to the circuits to give illustrations, we then would have some understanding of how this is done.
Judge ROTH. I would be happy to do so.
Ms. NORTON. Thank you. One final question. With respect to the senior judge, I fully recognize why a senior judge might require a courtroom of her own on a regular basis. There has been quite slow action in filling many judicial vacancies in the Federal courts. There's now a huge backlog as a result of that slow action.
So it's clear to me that there must be some senior judges who are pressed, who have taken senior status, but come to work every day in the same way they did before they decided to become senior judges, maybe they became 60 whatever you are, when you may decide to become senior. Does a senior judge, can you say that for the most part, in order for a senior judge to have her own courtroom, she must have her own full caseload? Can you say minimally that?
Judge ROTH. Beyond the judicial conference policy recommended by our committee, the Judicial Resources Committee of the Conference has established criteria on the workload, which determines the secretarial help, the clerk help, and the use of chamber space for a senior judge. Thus, a senior judge who does nothing will not have chamber space, and will not have clerical help to assist him or her.
Ms. NORTON. How much do you have to have in order to have clerical help?
Judge ROTH. I'm not sure. We will be happy to provide you with that information.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. NORTON. I'd like to know that. I mean, we want to encourage senior judges to come forward, and it makes space unavailable or scarce, they're not going to want to do that. On the other hand, senior judges, I can also imagine that a courtroom might, you might have such a shortage, and in some circuits, this may in fact be the case today, that you have an empty courtroom there. So why not have the senior judge use it, if it's not being used.
So the flexibility is not anything we're trying to close off, it's just that it's our job to make sure, when there is so great a call on this committee for Federal facilities which are called that we will not be able to meet in perpetuity, and when the Federal Judiciary is taking almost all the money, it's our duty to see that that money is used as wisely as possible.
I thank you very much for your testimony.
Mr. LATOURETTE. I thank you, and if we have no more questions, Judge Roth, we want to thank you very much for your appearance here today and your valuable testimony.
Judge ROTH. I appreciate the opportunity to appear. Thank you.
Mr. LATOURETTE. Thank you very much. With that, the Subcommittee is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 3:57 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned, to reconvene at the call of the Chair.]